Jun 22, 2019

The Latest Issue of the Review of Biblical Literature

The latest issue of Review of Biblical Literature is out. Reviews can be accessed by clicking the links below but unfortunately you must be a SBL member.

David B. Capes, The Divine Christ: Paul, the Lord Jesus, and the Scriptures of Israel
Reviewed by Chris Kugler

Björn Corzilius, Michas Rätsel: Eine Untersuchung zur Kompositionsgeschichte des Michabuches
Reviewed by Burkard M. Zapff

Channing L. Crisler, Reading Romans as Lament: Paul’s Use of Old Testament Lament in His Most Famous Letter
Reviewed by Nicholas A. Elder

Brian Charles DiPalma, Masculinities in the Court Tales of Daniel: Advancing Gender Studies in the Hebrew Bible
Reviewed by Susan E. Haddox

Russell E. Gmirkin, Plato and the Creation of the Hebrew Bible
Reviewed by Anthony L. Abell

Esther J. Hamori and Jonathan Stökl, eds., Perchance to Dream: Dream Divination in the Bible and the Ancient Near East
Reviewed by John R. L. Moxon

Fiona J. R. Gregson, Everything in Common? The Theology and Practice of the Sharing of Possessions in Community in the New Testament
Reviewed by Gordon Zerbe

Tat-siong Benny Liew, ed., Present and Future of Biblical Studies: Celebrating 25 Years of Brill’s Biblical Interpretation
Reviewed by Jione Havea

Jason Maston and Benjamin E. Reynolds, eds., Anthropology and New Testament Theology
Reviewed by Jonathan Douglas Hicks

Matthew L. Skinner, A Companion to the New Testament: Paul and the Pauline Letters
Reviewed by James N. Hoke

James W. Watts, Understanding the Pentateuch as a Scripture
Reviewed by Benjamin D. Sommer

Adam Winn, Reading Mark’s Christology under Caesar: Jesus the Messiah and Roman Imperial Ideology Reviewed by Michaël Girardin

Jun 21, 2019

Reading the Apocrypha

Greg Lanier talks about how reading the Apocrypha might be edifying here.

Jun 20, 2019

Thoughts on Psalm 128

Here in the southern United States the word “bless” in its various forms is common feature of the vernacular. It is usually used positively like it often is in the Bible (“I’m blessed”) but occasionally “bless their/your heart” is used to question a person’s competence or intelligence or both. In any case, those who speak of being blessed commonly view blessing solely in terms of being in a good state. And being blessed is simply something that happens to you. While both these sentiments are true, the writer of Psalm 128 is most interested in relating the “how” and “what” of blessing. It is not an exhaustive treatment of the topic but a poetic reflection on it.

Steve Walton on Improving Your Academic Writing

Steve Walton has posted a link to a recent postgraduate research conference on improving your academic writing here.

Jun 19, 2019

Jesus as a Priestly and Prophetic Preacher

I found this comment by Hughes Oliphant Old to be interesting.
For Matthew, Jesus is the preacher who completely fulfills the priestly role of teaching the Law of Moses and the prophetic role of proclaiming the Word of God. That Jesus fulfills the role of preacher from the standpoint of both the Law and the prophets is particularly clear from the story of the transfiguration (Matt. 17:1-8). What the disciples saw on the mountain at that illuminating moment was that Jesus was the one who spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai and from whom Elijah heard the still, small, prophetic voice on the mountain.

Hughes Oliphant Old, The Reading and Preach of the Scriptures in the Worship of the Christian Church: Volume 1: The Biblical Period (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998), 137.

Jun 18, 2019

Thoughts on Psalm 127

Psalm 127 thematically breaks into two parts. In verses 1-2, security and significance are addressed by noting the vanity of self-reliance (see the commentary). The idea of security is expressed with images of watching over, watchmen, and sleep. The concept of significance is stated negatively in terms of vanity. But significance is possible when the Lord builds the house, and watches over the city. 

In the second part of the psalm, verses 3-5, the psalmist addresses security and significance in terms of children. The idea of significance is seen in the language of children as one’s heritage, reward, and blessing. Children are a blessed reminder that we matter if for no other reason that our children need us. In ministry, one often deals with very broken and damaged people. In talking with such people, those that are parents often confess that they believe that their children are the one thing right about their lives. And although it can be taken to unhealthy extremes when a parent tries to live too vicariously through their children, children do allow us to find significance in passing on a legacy to the next generation. The idea of children as a means of security seems a bit odd in our culture. After all, parents are to provide security for the child. But in the past and to some degree now, children were a means to provide security for aged parents in a world where social safety nets were practically non-existent. In this sense children would be a means of security. 

Thankfully this psalm not only surfaces the desire for security and significance but it ultimately points us in the direction of God’s providence as its source. It is God, and God alone, who provides true security and lasting significance. He does through providentially overseeing our lives and through blessings like children.

Jun 17, 2019